When my husband and I first moved in together, I quickly learned how much bread the man could eat. So. Much. Bread. I love bread, but I want it to be good— not a loaf with thin, floppy pieces with a lingering taste of preservatives. But buying the good stuff gets expensive! Which is what started this bread-making journey. Six years later, and there have only been a handful of times we’ve been without our homemade supply. Do not be deterred by making homemade bread! It really is so easy. Although it takes a few hours for the whole process, almost all of the time is hands off. This recipe makes two loaves; we always stash one in the freezer and have one in the breadbox for sandwiches or toast.
3 1/2 cups warm water, divided
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup cornmeal
4 cups all purpose white flour
4 cups whole wheat flour, plus more for kneading dough
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
butter, to grease pans
In a large bowl, combine sugar and 1/2 cup of warm water. Sprinkle yeast on top and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until yeast has bloomed.
Add remaining 3 cups of warm water, the honey, and cornmeal, and stir. Add in white flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add the salt. Add the whole wheat flour 1 cup at a time. After the 4th cup has been added, start to knead the dough, adding additional flour a few tablespoons at a time only if it is very sticky. You can turn the dough onto a floured spot on the counter, or knead it in the bowl which is what I always do. (Alternatively, this can be made in a stand mixer with a dough hook, but I find kneading bread is very therapeutic.) Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Lightly coat bowl with olive oil, and return dough to bowl. Place in a warm spot to rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Prepare two loaf pans by greasing well with butter. Once dough has doubled, punch down and divide into two, roughly equal pieces. Shape into loaves and place in prepared pans. Place pans in a warm spot for second rise, which should take about 30-40 minutes.
During the second rise, preheat oven to 375 deg F. When ready to bake, place in preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes. Loaves will be golden brown and your house will smell so good. Immediately turn loaves out of pans onto a wire rack to cool completely before storing.